Unemployment Rate Dips Again to 3.5%
The labor market filled 187,000 new jobs in July, which was a breath ahead of an adjusted June number of 185,000. Both May and June numbers were adjusted downward by a combined 49,000.
The most active sectors to increase employment in July were healthcare, social assistance, financial activities, and wholesale trade.
The unemployment rate continued to drop, moving from 3.7% in May to 3.6% in June to 3.5% in July.
Compensation continued to inch ahead, with a two-cent hourly gain in July, maintaining a 12-month average hourly rate increase of 4.4%.
The average work week for July slipped back to its May level of 34.3 hours, following a slight uptick to 34.4 hours in June.
Temporary Job Trends:
The temp sector was down by 22,000 jobs in July.
What Does It All Mean?
The July jobs report offered no big surprises. In the same way that life tends to slow down in the heat of summer, labor market activity was somewhat sluggish. Jobs growth in July did not dip, nor did it soar. Some characterize the jobs market as cooling, even as wages continue to rise and unemployment decreases, albeit at a moderate pace. Conditions have neither sparked recessionary threats, nor fully mitigated inflation fears. Recent activity puts the economy in more of a holding pattern, waiting to see what happens next month and the one after that.
The economy still boasts an employment gap of 9.6 million unfilled positions, with 1.6 jobs for every jobseeker. People continue to find jobs, but there are indications that it is taking longer to land ― up to three and a half months. Employers are introducing innovative technology that can shorten that time frame, while continuing to strengthen retention initiatives, protecting their best source of tested and trusted talent.
Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), CNBC, CNN, Staffing Industry Analysts, Reuters, Bloomberg, NBC News, The Wall Street Journal